Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

“I’m a Son of Confederate Veterans as well as a son of slavery.”

Posted in African Americans, Genealogy, Memory by Andy Hall on June 23, 2010

Cary Clack, a columnist for San Antonio Life and a descendant of both a Confederate cavalry officer and a slave, attends an SCV meeting and finds it to be an odd, but not-entirely-unpleasant experience:

I’d written a column sarcastically dismissive of Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. While proclaiming my pride in being a child of the South and Southwest, I took issue with McDonnell’s initial declaration of Confederate History Month — on behalf of the Sons of Confederate Veterans — which ignored slavery, and with Perry’s earlier suggestion of secession.

The Heritage of Honor page on the SCV website didn’t mention the word “slavery” either, but I saw that membership is open to “all male descendants of any veteran who served honorably in the Confederate armed services” and that I qualified.

I wrote, “I’m a Son of Confederate Veterans as well as a son of slavery” and expected an application.

I got one, as well as an invitation to attend the May meeting, from Russ Lane, the affable head of Alamo Camp #1325. I never doubted I’d go, just as I never doubted I would be treated kindly.

Including wives, there were about 30 people in the meeting that began with “the Pledge of Allegiance” to “the United States of America,” which heartened me to know I wasn’t in the presence of secessionists.

Mr. Clack’s take on the encounter is interesting, and doesn’t easily fit into preconceived notions. It’s complicated, that’s for sure, and I hope he continues to write on this particular journey of his. It’s challenging enough thinking about one’s Confederate ancestors, who marched and fought and sometimes died in the uniform of a nation established to preserve and expand the institution of slavery; I can’t even imagine how to begin approaching the knowledge that one of your ancestors considered another to be his personal property.

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